Pirate Ship Honored Parade Crash Victim

By Jeff Nguyen
|  Monday, Dec 13, 2010  |  Updated 8:07 AM PDT
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Tonight a North County family is looking back at the loss of a child in last year's Parade of Lights on <a title=San Diego Bay by taking the support they've gotten and paying it forward." />

Tonight a North County family is looking back at the loss of a child in last year's Parade of Lights on San Diego Bay by taking the support they've gotten and paying it forward.

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During Saturday night's San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, the last boat in the line up had the greatest meaning to Alan and Caroline DeWeese.

"Anthony would have absolutely loved the pirate ship," said Caroline DeWeese.

During last year's parade, their eight-year old son Anthony died after a Coast Guard boat crashed into a vessel he was in.

This year, the event and the design of the final boat were dedicated to Anthony.

His father said red was Anthony's favorite color so the vessel was filled with red Christmas lights.

In the wake of the tragedy, a safety zone was set up for Saturday's Parade and next Sunday's as well.

Spectator boats have to stay at least 150-yards away from the parade route.

"There's a lot of boats a lot people, a lot of them without lights on," said boater Bob Jones. "Then you just have to be very, very careful."

Earlier this year, the parade committee wasn't sure if it wanted to continue with the long running tradition.

"There were people that resigned from the committee because of the accident," said event chairman Larry Baumann.

Six other people were injured in last year's collision. Some of the victims were treated at Rady's Children's Hospital. So organizers and the family have started a drive to help raise donations for the hospital.

You can donate $5 by texting "Rady" to 84944.

"Anthony would've been proud to have his name attributed to something like this," said Alan DeWeese.

And he would've been proud of the boat his own father helped to decorate over the past few nights as he worked into the wee hours of the morning.

"It was good to actually be able to tangibly do something in his honor and in his memory," DeWeese said.

Since the crash, Anthony's family has filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking unspecified damages.

However, they didn't want to talk about that the night of the parade. Instead, they wanted to focus on the young man with the bright smile who loved to play hockey.
 

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